Toads and witchcraft

“It’s a terrible thing for a man when his woman gangs up on him wi’ a toad”
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)

Toads and witchcraft often go hand in hand when it comes to lore and fairy tales. A toad is a witch’s imp, an ingredient for flying ointment, a witch transformed, and its the power of the Toad Amulet (also known as the Toad Bone). They have connections to witches and were often used to determine if one was a witch during the Witch Trials in Europe, “A jury of Women found a preternatural Teat upon her Body: But upon a second search, within 3 or 4 hours, there was no such thing to be seen. Elizabeth Horner, another Devon witch, tried in 1696, I had something like a Nipple on her Shoulder, which the Children [who gave evidence] said was sucked by a Toad” (Source: F. Hutchinson, Historical Essay). Unfortunately, the toad is somewhat overlooked by many modern witches despite its historical and magical importance.

Toads are often connected to the otherworld and spiritual world due to their use in witches’ flying salves within folklore and fairy tales (more info about Toads and flying Salves found here). It was used in spellwork meant to heal, protect, connect to the otherworld, and even curse men, “The Cat would kill kine, the Weasil would kill horses, the Toad would plague men in their bodies,” (Source: Giffard).

One of the more famous of its uses is the Toad Bone aka the Toad Amulet.

One of the main purposes of the amulets was the “power from for messing about with horses, (Toad Bone ritual by Albert Love).

In order to see the future with a toad, a witch would supposedly feed it a particular way, often quoted in witch trials it was fed the witch’s blood. It was from that she could use the toad’s power, while it was alive. And with it, she could curse men, torment women, and see into the future.

“I went to the toad that lies under the wall,
I charmed him out, and he came at my call.”
Masque, of Queens,” BEN JONSON

More information on Toads and witchcraft can be found from the following sources:

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